Another weekend……another talented cricket team visiting the island to take on Mallorca Cricket Club at the club ground in Magaluf. Chorleywood CC from Hertfordshire is just the latest in a long line of top rate club teams to play cricket here.
On Saturday, the MCC had assembled a particularly strong side to take on these visitors and within a few overs it was obvious that they would need to do something special to beat this talented team. After a watchful start, the Chorleywood opening batsmen Ret and Malinowski started to make progress against the fierce pace attack of Mallorca’s Vickers and Pavan.
Ret in particular, must have been seeing the cricket ball very well as he drove and pulled pretty well everything that was sent his way. Overpitch slightly…..and he would drive the bowler through the covers; drop it short and he would pull you square of the wicket. Indeed, Ret reached his on-going personal tally of 44 totally in 4’s.
At the other end Malinowski (15) was well caught off the bowling of first change bowler Wes Walker, but with the arrival of Pendered Chorleywood looked set for a very high score as both men “milked” the bowling comfortably enough. With Pendered acting as Ret’s wing-man and a couple of sharp catching chances “decked,” MCC skipper Gareth Davies was having to alternate his bowlers to create some sort of pressure on the batsmen.
AT LAST THE BREAKTHROUGH
At last the breakthrough came, Ruble tempted Pendered into a loose shot and he was snaffled competently in the deep; a more than useful 44 runs to his credit. At the 20 over mark Chorleywood had over a 100 runs on the board with just 2 wickets down…..time for them to take the game away from Mallorca CC perhaps? Well that the scenario that appeared most likely at that juncture, but MCC’s bowlers are made of sterner stuff than that. As Ret batted on serenely things were starting to happen at the other end.
A silly run-out saw the back of M Tyler, then slowly but surely the MCC bowlers homed in on the incoming batsmen. In turn…. Walker, Pavan, Ruble, Yashir and Vickers were starting to prise the iniative away from the visitors. From the departure of Pendered no batter made more than 10 runs.
Tipping and Dare (they sound like a kid’s game don’t they?) were bowled by Yashir and Ruble respectively, and when Vickers took a fine caught & bowled catch to dismiss Orange the Chorleywood innings was losing momentum. However, there was still the problem of opening bat Ret, who was still making runs as wickets fell at the other end and was more than capable pushing the score beyond Mallorca.
Happily for the MCC, with a handful of overs to go Ret was cleaned bowled by the tireless Yashir; he had scored 92 classy runs and I suspect that not many of the MCC players would have begrudged him a deserved century. At the end of their innings Chorleywood CC had posted a “gettable” 217 for 8 off 40 overs….but who within Mallorca Cricket Club ranks was going to get them? The pick of the MCC bowlers was Ruble with 3 wickets for 27 runs off 8 overs, with Yashir 2 wickets for 45 and Vickers and Walker I wicket apiece.
INTO THE FRAY
After tea it was the turn of MCC openers Ben Vickers and Paul Muckleburg to face the music. Whilst Muckleburg studiously played his “way in,” Vickers at the other end seemed determined to emulate Chorleywood’s Ret by taking the attack to the opening bowlers.
Rice and Smithson wheeled in tidily and accurately enough, but Vickers was in no mood to let them get on top. With ferocious straight drives and trademark hook shots he pounced on anything that was not a perfect line and length, but that is not to say that Ben Vickers is a “slogger” as he rarely plays “across the line” and is technically very correct. But what Vickers has also got in abundance, is confidence and power. As in the innings of Ret for Chorleywood it was a pleasure to watch.
Paul Muckleburg has not been able to play as much cricket as he has wanted to this season because of work commitments, but he still is an excellent batsman. As a primarily back-foot player Muckleburg cuts the ball beautifully and early in his innings it was of some frustration that he kept “hitting” the fielders when a shot deserved more than a just a single.
With his score on 22 runs Chorleywood’s Hinds had him caught as he mistimed a shot. As if to mirror the oppositions batting performance Vickers was going like a train but Mallorca’s other batsmen were struggling to stay with him. In one two over spell medium- pacer Rice had Yazeen caught & bowled for 2……then bowled Walker (0) first ball before scuttling out Mark Fallon before he had hardly taken guard.
The innings was becoming “lopsided”to say the least! This mayhem at the other end hardly seemed to distract Vickers as he carved his way through bowler after bowler……..save for one man. Chorleywood’s young Mr Pendered (apologies, I don’t know his first name) was that rare creature at this level, a very good spinner, and it was noticeable that even Ben Vickers was very circumspect when facing him.
Because of the nature of the MCC’s ground and its very dry wicket a competent spinner can cause big problems for even the most confident of players. Unfortunately good wrist or finger spinners on this island are a rare as hen’s teeth.
After Mallorca’s middle-order went into meltdown Vickers was joined by Ruble and order once again returned as the home team marched toward the victory target of 218 runs. Ruble is no mean batsman and scored five 4’s before he was finally bowled by Ret just before victory.
Ben Vickers total was a magnificent 132 not-out, I can’t say if I have ever seen a better innings by a MCC batsman….given the very good opposition. Well done Ben Vickers. The Chorleywood boys stuck to their task well, but just as Ret had dominated their innings, so Vickers was to dominate Mallorca’s.
Mallorca Cricket Club’s Sunday XI were unfortunately to feel the “backlash” of the Saturday team’s victory over Chorleywood CC’s. After a bright start where MCC held the opposition to less than 30 runs in 10 overs the floodgates opened and Chorleywood posted a monstrous score of 287 for 3 off 40 overs. Rice and Malinowski made 100’s and then retired and Hinds belted a swift 50.
In reply the shell-shocked MCC Sunday XI tried to make a game of it but were bundled out for less than a hundred. However, once again Sascha Goonerseraka showed what a good player he is becoming with a sturdy 31 runs to his name. Hey, someone should tell our “touring” sides that Sunday fixtures are strictly “social.” Fat chance when they have been beaten by the MCC 1st Team on the Saturday!
Mallorca Cricket Club 2013